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Suspect almost 6yr old has ADHD school won't support

16 replies

KinderWild · 24/07/2021 23:03

My 5, soon to be 6 yr old is showing signs of ADHD. I should say I (mum) have ADHD, diagnosed as an adult, and my boy is very similar to how I was when I was young.
At home he has massive tantrums after school, home learning was awful - a 15 minute task would take hours to complete, this is the same for getting ready, bathtime, brushing teeth, he gets anxious making any decisions, has said his head is too noisy to think. It's heartbreaking. I want to have him assessed so we can support him as early as possible, and if he has it, hopefully he won't struggle as much as I have, and have this impact his relationships and self esteem.

Thing is I asked school to assess him and the teacher did (not the senco!) and she said she sees no signs. This was a message passed to me so I've had no opportunity to talk with anyone at school about it. They've just said go to the gp. I think he puts all of his efforts in being perfect at school (he is so scared of getting in trouble there) and then it all falls apart at home.

My question is, can I go private without school support? Will they be able to diagnose? And what if he was diagnosed will school accept it?

OP posts:
openupmyeagereyes · 25/07/2021 08:39

Have you already spoken to your GP? If not make an appointment to discuss all your concerns.

I would also ask for an appointment with the SENCO to follow this up. Do they know that you have a diagnosis of this already?

KinderWild · 25/07/2021 09:25

Thanks for replying!

I haven't no but I have requested an appointment with the GP.

We spoke to the school 7 weeks ago, they said the senco would assess, then said the senco had assessed, and it was only at the end of term we were told the senco hadn't assessed and the teacher said there are no signs. Yes the school are aware I have it.

The senco has now retired and I don't know if they have a replacement but I will email to ask.

I guess I'm not prepared to wait while he struggles so I wanted to pursue it privately so we can start helping him. But I also wonder if school will only accept diagnoses if they don't see the behaviour as they may not believe it is a real diagnosis (I'm fearful they'll think a private diagnosis is a bought diagnosis as in they've given you what you paid then for rather than doing it properly).

OP posts:
Digestive28 · 25/07/2021 09:29

I think the challenge is that it may be hard to differentiate clearly at such a young age. I have a child of same age and home schooling experience wasn’t that much difference to what you describe - 15 min tasks did take hours, as does bedtime. The GP would be a good starting point as can say what is developmental and what maybe ADHD and refer on for a specialist diagnosis if needed.

Digestive28 · 25/07/2021 09:30

And anyone doing a diagnosis should do a diagnosis - they can’t be “bought”, you pay for their time and expertise. So school should accept it.

openupmyeagereyes · 25/07/2021 10:09

I don’t know much about ADHD but I suspect it’s hard to diagnose in a five year old boy, as PP said.

I would take a list of concerns to the GP before investigating a private diagnosis. The family history surely gives a higher risk.

GumbotheBumbo · 01/08/2021 20:50

Agree with the previous posters that the gp would be a good place to start. I saw ours and was referred without any hassle after the first appointment (I didn't take my son as didn't want him to hear concerns the school had raised). We were then seen within a few months at the centre we were referred to. Wasn't exactly the end for us as we went on for further assessments but would have theoretically given a diagnosis if this hadn't been the case.

lorisparkle · 01/08/2021 21:11

ADHD is a medical diagnosis rather than educational so whilst it is good to have the schools support you can independently go down the GP / paediatrician route. However it might take some time! We were first referred to an Occupational Therapist who was excellent and then to the paediatrician.

I wish we had gone down the GP route earlier with ds2 as we waited for secondary school - who have been highly supportive but we are now on the ridiculously long waiting list for CAMHS. If he had been seen by the paediatrician whilst he was at primary she could have done the ADHD assessments.

In addition we did pay for a private educational psychologist as the wait for that was 18months before the pandemic.

KinderWild · 01/08/2021 21:54

Thanks @lorisparkle that's really helpful to know. I had my diagnosis through gp referral but so much is made of the school supporting a suspicion/diagnosis when speaking with other parents. Good to know this isn't necessary.

OP posts:
Hankunamatata · 01/08/2021 22:00

Adhd diagnosis is done via nhs not school. Most gp wont refer until after 6th birthday. I dis go private with one of mine as waiting list was 3 years on nhs, but that was more so that he had access to medication to be able to cope with school.

BackforGood · 01/08/2021 22:07

Generally Paediatricians won't give a diagnosis so young.
So much of what is seen in a child with ADHD is so similar to behaviour seen in many young children who don't have ADHD, so Paediatricians wait until they are of an age when they would have been expected to have outgrown such behaviours.

Part of the diagnostic criteria is also that the behaviours happens wherever the child is, so, in the case of ADHD, it is relevant that he can last of 6 hours a day, x 5 hrs a day without displaying those behaviours.

Intercity225 · 04/08/2021 09:01

Part of the diagnostic criteria is also that the behaviours happens wherever the child is, so, in the case of ADHD, it is relevant that he can last of 6 hours a day, x 5 hrs a day without displaying those behaviours.

I know OP is talking about ADHD, but ime it’s quite easy for a school not to notice a girl has ADD! (The quiet inattentive type)

KinderWild · 04/08/2021 10:06

Yes I'd agree @Intercity225. As a female who has ADHD (not sure what type, I clearly wasn't listening) it often presents in a way that isn't 'typical' (that's not quite right, I may mean stereo typical) and so is missed. Also I do wonder if schools have the capacity to identify these things.

We are getting a pre assessment done for our son with ADHD therapy. I strongly believe he has it or there is something else going on, so ruling it out would he beneficial to us. There is apparantly (based on recent research) around an 85% inheritance rate. He is already struggling in some situations and it is impacting his self esteem. It is possible as I understand it that children can mask their symptoms and turn the pressure of that inwards creating issues with self esteem and anxiety. This was certainly my experience as a child.

OP posts:
MumofBoys79 · 09/08/2021 15:55

Hi OP, is your son in Reception or Year 1?
My son's Reception teacher didn't recognise any signs of ADHD in my son. However, when my son reached year one, when there wad more requirement to sit still, etc, his year 1 teacher was in agreement with me in suspecting ADHD.

In my personal experience, I wasnt taken seriously, under NHS, until I had corroboration from the school.
Also, I don't think most teachers and sometimes even Sencos recognise the signs of ADHD. It amazes me how little they know about it. Lots of teachers haven't had any training in ADHD.

MumofBoys79 · 09/08/2021 16:00

Just to add, I thought the behaviour has to be apparent in two different settings to receive a diagnosis (whether NHS or privately).

Good luck OP. Xx

KinderWild · 09/08/2021 17:07

He has just done reception going into yr 1. I am unhappy with how school have handled it to be honest.
I think it's very dangerous to require schools to support. A friend's little boy (now 11) is almost definitely ADHD/ASD. The patents tried for years with the school with no support he is still undiagnosed and they all struggle. They don't have the money to go private. Perhaps they'll get more help in secondary. Perhaps their local authority don't have the training to support assessment....

OP posts:
MumofBoys79 · 09/08/2021 17:51

When your boys goes into year 1, there will be more expectation of him, so any signs of ADHD should hopefully become more apparent to the (hopefully different teacher). Based on my experience, I would advise waiting a few months to see how that goes.

I can't comment on what is expected to obtain a private diagnosis. But the NHS sent a questionnaire to my son's teacher for completion. But I guess you don't have to use the school, maybe a childminder or someone else who has contact with your son could help.

Sorry to hear you're not getting any help from the school. I know how tough this whole process is so if you ever want to talk to someone feel free to DM me!


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